The Roblox Corporation is suing controversial Roblox content creator Benjamin Robert Simon, better known online as Ruben Sim, for leading a “cybermob” that they say terrorizes the Roblox platform and its developers. Roblox lawyers filed the lawsuit Tuesday in a California court, alleging that Simon “commits and encourages unlawful acts designed to injure Roblox and its users.”
Roblox is looking for $1.6 million in damages.
Simon has a long history with the Roblox platform, from which he’s been banned for several years. He continues to access the platform, however, by “hacking” and using accounts created by other people. He was banned, originally, for harassing users and using racist and homophobic slurs, as well as for sexual harassment and uploading photos of Adolf Hitler, Roblox’s lawyers said. Some of this content is uploaded to his YouTube and Patreon channels, where he makes money from them, they said.
But most recently, Roblox lawyers said Simon posted “terrorist threats” that temporarily shut down the Roblox Developers Conference in San Francisco in October. According to the lawsuit, Simon and his “cybermob” followers discussed the YouTube headquarters shooting from April 2018, in which Simon reportedly said “wait until [someone] does it to Roblox.” During the event, Simon reportedly posted a message on Twitter suggesting that San Francisco police were “searching for notorious Islamic Extremist” at RDC 2021. He and others continued to post fake threats like these — including one that reportedly said “Don’t come to RDC tomorrow” — lawyers said.
The event was delayed and “forced into a temporary lockdown while local police and private security conducted a search to secure the facility,” according to the lawsuit. Roblox said it cost $50,000 to investigate and secure RDC after the incident. Simon has since deleted many of his tweets.
Also outlined in the lawsuit is Simon’s “targeted harassment” toward Roblox users and employees in-game and on social media.
Roblox is suing him for fraud and breach of contract, among 4 other counts. Neither Simon nor Roblox has returned Polygon’s request for comment.
Roblox is largely a platform for kids, estimated to be worth $45 billion. More than simply a game, Roblox is a platform that lets people build games and worlds: There are thousands of games on the platform and storefront, the New York Times reported, with an average of 32.6 million people logged in each day in 2020.
People talk about Roblox a lot because there’s reportedly a lot of money to be made with it — young developers have earned millions per year. The platform itself and the games within are free, but players can spend Robux, a virtual currency tied to real money, on in-game items. Roblox’s games vary wildly; there are first-person shooters and Squid Game remakes alongside roleplaying servers.
The company has been criticized for reportedly exploiting young developers; a People Make Games investigation in August detailed the experience of kids developing on the platform. It’s also a place that’s attracted scammers and fascists, even as Roblox ups its moderation efforts.